Scandinavians didn’t use hereditary surnames in most cases until about 1900. Their customs would surprise many Americans.
The following information was adapted from a posting to the Norrbotten mailing list by Gwen Boyer Björkman.
Before the Protestant Reformation, a clergyman used only his given name preceded by Herr (Sir). Thus Herr Johannes, Herr Mikael, Herr Petrus and Herr Wilhelmus. When it became necessary to differentiate between two priests having the same given name, a patronymic was added, but Latinized:
Abraham Andersson = Abrahamus Andrex
Björn Bengtsson = Bero Benedicti
Anders Danielsson = Andreas Danielis
Bengt Eriksson = Benedictus Erici
Johan Henriksson = Johannes Henrici
Nils Håkansson = Nicolaus Haquini
Gabriel Johansson = Gabriel Johannis
Erik Larsson = Ericus Laurentii
Matthias Olofsson = Matthias Olai
Henrik Simonsson = Henricus Simonis
Lars Steffansson = Laurentius Stephani
Göran Svensson = Georgius Svenonis
As time went on, these Latinized forms were not sufficient to correctly identify the clergy. Thus, when students enrolled at the University of Uppsala or at the University of Åbo in Finland, it became necessary to add an identifier, usually the Latinized forms of their birth places. If we examine the clergy of the Diocese of Västerås during the 17th century, we find a few of these names:
Olaus Andreæ Arosiensis from Västerås Bartholdus
Petri Cuprimontanus from Kopparberg Parish
Matthias Erici Dalekarlus from the province of Dalarna
Ericus Petri Dingtunensis from Dingtuna Parish
Laurentius Andreæ Gevaliensis from Gävle
Andreas Pauli Helsingus from Hälsingland
Petrus Jonæ Kolbeckius from Kolbäck Parish
Andreas Andreæ Norxmontanus from Norberg Parish
Gudmundus Petri Rettvikensis from Rättvik Parish
Nicolaus Erici Segerstadius from Segerstad Parish
Johannes Danielis Tunensis from Tuna Parish
If a priest’s father had a surname, the priest might Latinize that name. For example, Johannes Laurentius Betulius, whose father was named Björk, which in Swedish means birch.
As time passed, clerical students used other methods to create names that were commensurate with their social station. One popular method was to add theScandinavians didn’t use hereditary surnames in most cases until about 1900. Their customs would surprise many Americans. Greek word ander (man) as the last syllable of a name:
Alander, Arenander, Arosiander, Betulander, Björkander, Carlander, Dalander, Delander, Dryander, Elander, Fornander, Gasslander, Gullander, Hållander, Insulander, Jullander, Karlander, Kilander, Kylander, Lysander, Mellander, Nylander, Olander, Pållander, Rollander, Svenander, Tennander, Ulander, Vikander, Wallander, and Ylander.